I'll start by saying that the near meltdown in the 9th might have been a good thing-- keep 'em humble. Though it was essentially a product of Macha tossing Captain Kirk out there, who hasn't yet adjusted to his new role. Witasick may have been the better choice. And note to A's: don't ever let the guy on first go to second without a throw when ichiro is at the plate-- eliminating the force is a decidedly bad play in that situation.
That said, my fundamental feeling about this team is that they are good as I thought they would be-- and maybe better-- and you know how optimistic I have been.
Defense is a constant and we saw plenty of it this week;
Depth should be a constant, and we saw its benefits this week, from the bullpen to numerous players contributing up and down the lineup;
The starting pitching is sick. Sure it's the Mariners and not the Yankees, but 21 innings that strong on three succcessive days is simply awesome. And there will be plenty more stretches like that-- maybe not quite as good-- throughout the year;
Offensively, Chavez is contributing a lot more early this year than he did in the past; three of the four vets struggling the most-- Ellis, Kendall and Payton-- came out of it some today. Expect the Hurt to follow suit. Johnson is the only guy to worry about, but you know what?? He's going home to Minnesota this week and I think the hits will follow.
I know wire-to-wire is impossible given the Opening Night loss; but I wouldn't be surprised if this team never looks back.
They are that good.